The OnlineCampaigningHandbookMobilising support in the 21st century                                         1
Contents                                      Introduction                                 Campaignable actions			        ...
Campaignable                                                                                                              ...
Deputise to the               willing                                                                      Case study     ...
Airplot!Case study             Airplot! has all the hallmarks of a        Airplot! appeals because...
Cherish your               database                                                                Case study             ...
Be nimble and                reactive                                                                  Case study         ...
Develop real                 relationships                                                                                ...
ColalifeCase study             Ever travelled down a dusty, pot-holed    The idea became a campaign,...
Know your                audience                                                                    Case study           ...
ABC                Make it easy                                                                                        Cas...
Reward people                                                                                         Case study          ...
Atheist BusCase study            The Atheist Bus Campaign began as        Atheists, grateful fo...
Link your name                 with an issue                                                                 Case study   ...
Keep track of what                you’re doing                                                                            ...
Be ready for                your close-up                                                           Case study            ...
Notes32   33
Thank You     Public Zone would like to thank the     many people who contributed their     time and campaigning wisdom to...
t: 020 7267 4774                                      e:                                  thisiszone.c...
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  1. 1. The OnlineCampaigningHandbookMobilising support in the 21st century 1
  2. 2. Contents Introduction Campaignable actions page 4 The digital revolution continues apace. Mobile and web are changing so fast, the implications for an organisation’s brand, product or campaign are not always Deputise to the willing page 6 clear. Which social media should I use? Which conversations should I listen to? Case study: Airplot! page 8 Should I create my own content or let others do the work for me? How can I Cherish your database page 10 control my message? Be nimble and reactive page 12 At Public Zone, we’re committed to helping our clients change the world for the better, and we believe digital has an important role to play in this. Of course, we Develop real relationships page 14 don’t have all the answers, but we are always searching for them on behalf of the Case study: Colalife page 16 people we work for. That’s why we have written this booklet. We’ve based it on Know your audience page 18 our own experiences and conversations with some expert campaigners. Inside you will find 11 insights that we think can contribute to the success of an online Make it easy page 20 campaign, and some examples that we have found really inspiring. Reward people page 22 We hope you find them useful. Case study: Atheist bus page 24 The Public Zone team Link your name with an issue page 26 Keep track of what you’re doing page 28 Be ready for your close-up page 30 Thank You page 34 This handbook was written in 2009 and is the first in the series.2 It was reprinted in 2012 using our new branding. 3
  3. 3. Campaignable AIM actions we want to end knife crime Case study ActionAid GOAL an amnesty on Most campaigns start with an Faced with the world’s problems, we ActionAid’s aim is to eradicate all knives ambitious goal: to end bullying, reform all have moments of thinking, “But child poverty worldwide education, reduce CO2 emissions or what can I do about it?” Answer that – a big goal by anyone’s change public opinion about the NHS. question for your potential supporters standards. ActionAid has by giving them clear, appropriate tasks successfully broken down MILESTONE MILESTONE But how to reach that goal isn’t to carry out for you. Actions such as this goal into actions that immediately obvious to the individuals 500,000 people 1,000 letters passing your message on, embedding everyone can work towards. to wear amnesty you are trying to mobilise. to every a link or writing a letter make your Well known for championing t-shirts police station So you need to break your strategy supporters feel useful and give them child sponsorship, the charity into milestones – the ‘campaignable’, a personal, emotional connection with highlights this as one of the smaller actions that supporters can your campaign. best ways to help, but also features ‘top five actions to ACTION ACTION help you achieve. These actions need to be clear, motivating and relevant to do now’ and ‘priority projects’ please sell send a letter to local groups or specific audiences. that appeal to a variety of five t-shirts your local different audiences. ActionAid to people you police station Your typical internet user won’t honour know you with their attention for long, so makes it very clear how you “No one backs something can help, what you have to show people quickly how easy it is for unachievable; people only do next and what you will them to contribute. want to join something they receive by supporting its work. Multiple milestones and actions think will be successful. will lend your campaign a sense of Breakdown the campaign urgency; you can keep up momentum Tip into steps, make it clear how by stimulating your supporters, reaching a milestone, congratulating people can help by outlining Ask the people you’re trying them and moving on to the next. realistic goals.” to influence if you have chosen Cathy Mahoney, Comic Relief the right milestones4 5
  4. 4. Deputise to the willing Case study Freecycle Treat your devoted supporters like the Treat these people like friends. Keep Freecycle is an environmental VIPs that they are, as they’re the key to in touch regularly, be honest with campaign with an ambitious unlocking a wider support base. them about how things are going, and goal: to build a worldwide reward them (sometimes publicly) for gifting movement that Many people are on a mission to build their support. Encourage them as they reduces waste, saves big support bases, focusing time and create their own actions and bring precious resources and eases energy on signing up members, then people to the cause. Empower them to the burden on landfills. It sending them blanket messages with adopt the issue as their own and they encourages local activists generic actions. may start to discuss your issue publicly, to set up groups in their area, But often a far more effective strategy talk to the media, and comment online. trusting them to work towards is to target a smaller supporter base This is how your campaign will gather the organisation’s goals in that you can cultivate – supporters strength and credibility – by nurturing a way that suits local needs who will connect you to others, take those who already share your goals. and habits. At the last count action and invent actions themselves there were 4,860 groups with that appeal to their peers. 6,784,000 members. These dedicated, informed individuals are the foundation stones of your campaign, so you need to work out how to identify and attract this type of Tip “Personal letters from just a supporter. Make sure you understand handful of my constituents what drives them to campaign for you Empower your core base to are far more valuable to me amplify your message through and how you can reward them. than hundreds of impersonal established networks, for emails that all look the same.” example, Derek Wyatt, former MP or Facebook6 7
  5. 5. Airplot!Case study Airplot! has all the hallmarks of a Airplot! appeals because it gives fantastic grass-roots online campaign. individuals a way to make their It’s clever – supporters are encouraged opinions felt, by coming together to throw a spanner in the works by with other like-minded people. It investing in a piece of land on the doesn’t hurt that the link between planned new Heathrow runway site the campaign action and its goal is so – and simple – web users can sign sparklingly clear. Buy land, save land. up online and find all the information You get the idea in a couple they need in one place. It looks like an of seconds. inventive one-off, but in fact Airplot! Greenpeace UK used the considerable was set up by Greenpeace UK. moral cachet of its brand to gain This vast charity has stayed light on support for this radical intervention. its feet and continued responding It reached out not just to die-hards creatively and quickly to environmental but to newcomers, by designing its threats. communications with different levels of engagement in mind. 8 9
  6. 6. Cherish your database Case study Christian Aid In activism, your supporters are Your database is a powerful Christian Aid carried out a everything. They give you legitimacy, campaigning tool, so you should treat health check on its database spread your message, carry out actions it like one. Invest time and energy and unearthed a number of and even fund your campaign. Yet making sure your data is accurate, issues. The first names of so many organisations are rubbish at clean and duplicate-free. Work towards 100,000 people were missing, keeping their database of supporters a point where you can segment your 30,000 contacts were up to date. According to a recent data into audiences groups, regions or duplicated and only a quarter Advocacy Online e-Campaigning level of engagement, to enable you to of contacts had the right Review, half of organisations have send out targeted campaign messages. demographic data to make databases with 40% of supporters targeted communications Remember that the size of your inactive, and only 9% have a strategy possible. Christian Aid found database is not an indication of for re-activating those who are a solution in a software how successful you are; a good dormant. Surely it is easier to get package that got rid of campaign measures engagement, back in touch with someone who has existing duplicates and not membership. already been part of your campaign stopped them re-occuring. than find someone new who cares in It also recognised it would the same way? have to manually check the new data once a week. Tip “CRM databases and captured If you need a CRM, try data are not indicators of Salesforce (software for success, they are an key customer relationship ingredient to enable success.” management) – not-for-profits Emma Harbour, Make Poverty History get up to 10 licences free10 11
  7. 7. Be nimble and reactive Case study MyBO Paul Revere, the famous ‘midnight The cheap, easy, fast communication The 2008 Obama campaign rider’ of the American Civil War, offered by the web is your friend. used text messages to update reacted swiftly to an impending But sometimes the culture within an supporters with news minutes British attack by riding from village organisation is not. Many organisations before it was announced to village to rouse the countryside miss opportunities to react to events publicly. 2.9 million people to arms. His is the story of a reactive or mobilise supporters because received the campaign’s text campaigner, and if he’d been alive the culture and processes for message announcing Joe today he could have left his horse in communicating are labour intensive, Biden as Barack’s running the stable and spread his message risk averse and expensive. Helping mate. The campaign also electronically to thousands of people colleagues see the value in being relied on email delivering in a matter of seconds. transparent, reactive and less contrived news faster than the media in their communication will reap could distribute it. ‘I have Breaking news increasingly appears benefits for your campaign. just finished my first debate on sites like Twitter several minutes with John McCain’, ‘I wasn’t before conventional online news planning on sending you sources. There are more ways than ever something tonight but if you to get your message out there quickly saw what I saw’, and even and responsively, yet organisations ‘John McCain just accepted still spend days preparing direct mail “Your phone is with you all the Republican nomination.’ and fancy HTML emails. Meanwhile, Tip plain text emails, SMS and social media the time. You’re texting with updates can be prepared in a matter your girlfriend. You’re texting Keen on Twitter, but your of minutes, for little or no cost. with your friends. Now you’re colleagues are unsure? texting with Barack.” Prepare dummy examples of Scott Goldstein, how your organisation could Obama’s Director of Mobile respond to events12 13
  8. 8. Develop real relationships Case study Action for Children There’s no great mystery to building a Unfortunately we’re only one-tenth of Action for Children relationship with people online – treat the way to our target and we need personalises its regular them exactly the same way as you your help to reach it. Could you please emails to subscribers, not would offline. If you’re responsive and email five friends and ask them to just addressing subscribers friendly with your supporters, their initial sign it too?”) by name, but (importantly) passive interest can be converted into targeting content to the Over time, you can add more involved 106cm real, valuable engagement. audience and specific actions actions, asking them to encourage that are likely to appeal The simplest (and often overlooked) others to join in, share content or hold to individuals, based on way to start a relationship is to say thank an event. Your supporters are your what it knows about them. 50cm you when someone completes an action closest allies – treat them like that, Even the title of the email for you, such as registering support for and they’ll reward you. is personalised. This has your cause. You can personalise this resulted in a greater level of thank you with an action that relates “We used so much social engagement, generated more to information they provide at sign donations and reduced the up, such as a postcode or their area of media during the presidential unsubscribe rate. interest (“We have a ‘Support Fairtrade’ campaign, but the initial group in Chelmsford – why not sign up relationship that allowed it to to their Facebook group?”) Tip work was email, it was the text- Relationships flounder without regular heavy, narrative-based emails Make sure you follow up within communication. It is vitally important to that kept people engaged. a month of first hearing from send a follow-up email after the initial Our mantra has been, invest a new supporter – according contact with a new supporter. This in your relationships online to an Advocacy Online email should report back honestly on via email.” e-campaigning review, only the first action you sent them. (“Thanks again for signing our online petition. Thomas Gensemer, Blue State Digital 31% of organisations do14 15
  9. 9. ColalifeCase study Ever travelled down a dusty, pot-holed The idea became a campaign, ColaLife, road in the middle of nowhere, arrived but Simon made hardly any progress in a remote village, and recovered from for 20 years. Finally, in 2008, he had your journey with a bottle of Coke? another go, this time using the power Ever wondered: hang on a minute, of the internet. He talked about the how did this fizzy drink get here? idea on his blog, set up a Facebook group, and let his first few supporters Us neither, but that’s because we take the idea to friends, family and don’t have Simon Berry’s brilliant the media. mind. He was working on a British Aid programme in 1988 when he came up The campaign grew wings and led with a simple idea. Why not use to radio appearances, a dedicated Coca-Cola’s highly effective network website and, eventually, talks with to distribute not just soft drinks but Coca-Cola. also medicines? One compartment in every 10 crates could become the ‘life saving’ compartment, full of things like rehydration salts. 16 17
  10. 10. Know your audience Case study Global Cool We’re all different in how much we know Plan how you are going to move people Global Cool has been very and care about an issue. Be realistic from along the journey from not caring to successful in making an the outset about where each supporter passionate support, and from ignorance environmental campaign is in terms of their level of commitment to deep understanding. Analyse cool. Targeting the ‘festival’ and understanding – this will help you the actions of individuals and the generation, it has driven its tailor your messages. information they give you to understand campaign entirely through where they are on the journey. youth celebrity endorsements Some people may only have a passing What content and actions can you tailor attracting thousands of interest in your cause, but will be for each stage of their journey? supporters and fans. The open to explanations about why it’s campaign has a personality important. Some will feel passionate, that feels very familiar to its but need your help to understand the audience; actions include wider context of the issue. Others will ‘Eco geek to eco chic’, ‘Do it already care deeply and know a lot, but in public’ and ‘Get Swishing’, may need persuading that your specific which could be headlines in campaign is a good solution. Heat or Glamour magazines. “Knowing your audience and where you can be effective is key. When people ask why is not on the front page of the Times, I ask why Tip we would want to be – what’s the point? Our audience is Not everyone shares your young people.” deep knowledge of the issue – Fiona Dawe OBE avoid jargon, or explain it18 19
  11. 11. ABC Make it easy Case study Fix My Street The easier you make it for someone to do something, the more likely they are to do it. Technology is very good at making things easier – through People do not switch between media easily, so if you want people to do something online, communicate the call to action via the web. It’s easy Fix My Street, run by mySociety allows people to report local problems such as fly tipping, graffiti or broken 123 Kiva you can lend money to a for them to respond, because they’re street lighting by asking for stationery retailer in Mexico, through already there. a brief description, entering My Barack Obama you can find local a postcode, pinpointing the Give people the warm glow of having volunteers and through Amnesty exact location on a map been able to help without going too you can send emails to human rights and uploading any useful much out of their way, and they abusers. Effective campaigns make photos. Once a problem is will have a positive memory of it next actions simple. reported, mySociety contacts time you ask them to do something. the relevant council and People are pressed for time and Remember, this is a relationship you campaigns on behalf of its the internet is a constant source of are building through good experiences. followers to get it fixed. On distraction. So enable supporters to average, it receives 800 – understand and act fast. 900 reports per week and If you want people to write to their last month managed to fix MP, give them a letter template, advice 985 of them. on what to say and a searchable MP database. Better still, ask them to send a personalised email from your Tip website, so they don’t have to bother with printing it out and posting Clarity is key – make forms as it themselves. short as possible and give easy-to-follow instructions20 21
  12. 12. Reward people Case study SuperBadger People like their support to be Rewarding is often related to sharing. Tearfund has developed recognised. They want to be reassured Help your supporters let others a Facebook application that their help makes a difference. know about their involvement in that incentivises people to your campaign, whether that’s by spread the message about There are simple things you can do to putting a link on Facebook or adding global poverty and ‘badger’ keep things ticking over, like thanking your campaign slogan to their email key decision makers. Called your supporters and updating them on signature. Your supporters enjoy being SuperBadger, it enables you your progress. But there are countless able to associate themselves with a to send pre-written emails other ways to reward supporters. Live8 good cause. Meanwhile, the campaign direct from your Facebook handed out tickets to a big concert; gains by the boost in web traffic and profile. The more people put activists’ photos on the the potential for new recruits. you ‘badger’, the more ‘sett’ web, and Wikipedia has built a hugely points you gain, increasing successful movement by allowing your rank and moving you the best contributors to become closer to Super Badger status. community leaders. Reward doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. London’s “Recognition and the 2012 bid campaign provided instant opportunity to be listened to gratification by flashing the names of is one of the best incentives those that supported the bid across you can offer your supporters; the homepage of the website. It was it’s a common misconception Tip simple, effective and contributed to the that incentives have to campaign’s huge success – more than cost money” Thank supporters publicly two million people signed up. Daniel Ritterband, on Twitter and Facebook, Greater London Authority as well as your website22 23
  13. 13. Atheist BusCase study The Atheist Bus Campaign began as Atheists, grateful for the opportunity a joke, or at least a tongue-in-cheek to publicly defend their beliefs, gave moment. Comedy writer Ariane the campaign so much momentum Sherine, a regular Guardian blogger, that it dramatically exceeded its wrote an article about Christian ad original target of £5,500 and ended campaigns that promised hellfire and up raising £150,000. The extra money eternal damnation for non-believers. funded bus campaigns across the She imagined a series of counter-ads, UK, adverts on the London reassuring atheists that everything Underground and two animated was OK. screens in central London. Her army of regular readers picked it up and ran with it. Political blogger Jon Worth loved the idea so much that he set up a pledgebank page asking people to support the campaign by donating £5 towards the cost of an advert on a bus. 877 people signed up, word spread and within days The British Humanist Association (BHA) offered support, and celebrity atheist Richard Dawkins publicly endorsed the campaign. The BHA set up a Just Giving page for donations, and the money kept rolling in. photo: British Humanist Association 24 25
  14. 14. Link your name with an issue Case study NSPCC Child abuse? NSPCC. Animal cruelty? If you invest in search engine The NSPCC is a great example PETA. Human rights abuse? Amnesty. optimisation, creating good content of smart thinking around The most famous and successful and distributing it around the web search engine optimisation – campaigning organisations have made to other sites, you can make it easier google ‘child cruelty’ and it their name synonymous with a specific for people to find you online and comes top. issue. They might do all sorts of other increase the conversion rate of offline Child cruelty things, but they encourage the public to online supporters. Google Child cruelty Search to have a clear, definite idea of what Linking your name to a particular Stop child abuse - support the children’s charity - the NSPCC they’re about. Support the NSPCC children’s charity and help wipe out child abuse. FULL issue might involve focusing on one STOP. Thousands of people are helping us to end child abuse and cruelty to Get people thinking about you idea at the expense of others, but Catalogue of cruelty | Society | Society Guardian alongside your key issue and you’ll it’s worth it for the increase in public Her mother, Maria Brown, was jailed for 18 months for child cruelty. The girl’s social worker, Norma McDevitt, visited the family 27 times in the 10 weeks ... find that it’s your press officer who support it brings. journalists call when there’s a big BBC NEWS | UK | England | London | ‘Witch’ child cruelty trio guilty 3 Jun 2005 ... Three people are found guilty of cruelty charges for ill-treating news story in your area of interest. a girl they believed was using witchcraft... Better still, you’ll start to attract people “Obama and McCain made ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ father jailed for child cruelty » Communities ... through search engines – they might good use of search... yet none 1 Dec 2009 ... A “Jekyll and Hyde” father who was found guilty of a string of not be able to remember your name of the three major UK political from a fleeting glimpse at an ad, but parties appear to have a paid they remember what your campaign or SEO search strategy.  Type is about. ‘credit crunch’ or ‘knife crime’ Tip You may also get the attention of into a search engine in the people who don’t even know you UK and the first page listings Put yourself in your audience’s exist – people who care about an issue are dominated by media” shoes – what would you type and are searching for a campaign that focuses on it. Noelle McElhatton, Marketing Direct into Google if you were them?26 27
  15. 15. Keep track of what you’re doing Case study Share your knowledge Effective monitoring and evaluation can Social media means that you can now In the last few years, several make the difference between an average track, in real time, exactly who is saying independent organisations 15% and an amazing campaign. Monitor and what about your campaign online. Use and networks have emerged evaluate as you go along and you’ll keep this to understand what your audiences that encourage the sharing finding new opportunities to optimise are interested in and allow these insights of campaigning case studies, your campaigning. to influence your communications. evaluation statistics and Scanning blogs, message boards and benchmarking reports. 5% The trick is to design your evaluation before you start, paying close attention social networking sites (daily during Fairsay and Engaging 2% peaks in your campaigning activity) Networks are leading the way. to how you are going to collect data. Too takes time, so factor it in when you By supporting networks such often, charities leave evaluation to the are planning. as the e-campaigning forum, end, only to discover they can only form they are ensuring charities March April May a patchy picture of their campaign due Monitoring and evaluation means can share knowledge from to an absence of data. planning your milestones from the which others can learn. beginning, continually tracking your Ask your contacts at other organisations impact, analysing information and if you can see their campaign data and feeding it back in to your campaign. learn from their experiences. Everyone The web is an amazing source of insight in the not-for-profit (indeed, any) sector – use it to your advantage. can benefit from learning from each other’s successes and mistakes. Tip Share your campaign evaluation data – you’ll reap rewards in return28 29
  16. 16. Be ready for your close-up Case study #welovethenhs Building a movement on the web If you build your campaign on Comedy writer Graham can be unpredictable – a news story committed local supporters, Linehan was angered by might break, a video might strike communicating with them regularly US right-wing attacks on a chord, a celebrity might publicly and allowing them to build their own the NHS. But instead of just declare their support… If this happens, networks, you can react when the complaining about it to his your traffic levels might suddenly go chance comes. Following the guidance friends, or working it into through the roof, and all eyes will be in this handbook doesn’t guarantee a comedy routine, he took on your campaign. This is your fleeting that your magical moment will come his anger to Twitter. His opportunity to capitalise on the along when you want it to, but it does tweets about his experiences attention. mean that you’ll be prepared for it. of the health service, tagged ‘we love the NHS’, It sounds like a miraculous moment. snowballed into a full-blown But many organisations let Twitter phenomenon, with opportunities like this pass them by, thousands of messages and those who use them to create an zinging back and forth. explosion of support don’t do it by Linehan’s campaign gave accident. Behind them lie campaigners voice to tens of thousands who are set up to be quick and of people who wanted to reactive, exploiting opportunities as express their support for soon as they appear. “Timing is everything. Some the NHS, but didn’t know of our clients punch far above how. The enthusiastic public their weight by exploiting response, facilitated by Twitter, turned the campaign opportunities presented by into a phenomenon both the news cycle.” online and off. Jonathan Simmons, Public Zone 31
  17. 17. Notes32 33
  18. 18. Thank You Public Zone would like to thank the many people who contributed their time and campaigning wisdom to this report, including Emma Harbour, Daniel Ritterband, Derek Wyatt, Fraser Hardie, Cathy Mahoney, Nicola Cadbury, Fiona Dawe OBE, Dave Russell and Sue Fidler. With special thanks to our very own campaigning expert, Joanna Shaw.34 35
  19. 19. t: 020 7267 4774 e: